A baby solid feeding chart helps parent gauge their child's level of development when it comes to the textures and types of foods he or she should consume. The most difficult aspect of trusting a baby solid feeding chart for infants is that pediatricians have altered their views over the past several decades. The medical establishment has changed quite drastically regarding its opinions of when to introduce solids to infants, particularly in America. Other countries also possess their own views of when it is appropriate to incorporate solids into a baby's diet. Hence, it is important for parents to be aware of the changes, the reasoning behind such changes, and to understand that future changes may occur as research progresses.
About a Baby Solid Feeding Chart
The general consensus within the pediatric community is that infants between the ages of zero to six months should be consuming breast milk or bottled formula exclusively. After six months, pureed fruits and vegetables can be introduced slowly as a child transitions to a sippy cup. After nine months of age, the texture of pureed foods should become chunkier. In fact, your baby may enjoy snacking on full solids such as Cheerios cereal. By twelve months your child will likely be experimenting with all sorts of textures and food types. This is about the time that cow dairy products are introduced alongside more allergenic substances.
Times have changed regarding the current baby solid feeding chart. During the 1940s, many mothers were encouraged to breastfeed only for a mere six weeks, and then solids and formula were introduced. This thinking marked an age of larger, chubbier babies, which was considered healthier at the time. In fact, breastfeeding was almost discouraged as it was thought to be gauche by many medical professionals.
No less than a few decades later, breastfeeding returned with a vengeance, and the introduction of solids was pushed back to about four months when infants were introduced to their first pureed bananas and rice cereal. Although the four months mark is still held to by some current pediatricians, the introduction of solids during recent times is usually recommended at six months.
An infant's digestive tract is not fully developed in certain ways until about twelve months; possibly longer. During the first few months of a baby's life, the bacterial balance of the intestines is still developing, as some bacterial strains dominate and colonize alongside other strains. Research has indicated that there is a bacterial difference between formula fed babies and breastfed infants. This bacterial balance is crucial to your child's development and immunity.
Some medical research has indicated that there is an advantage in delaying solids. In doing so, it is thought that an infant will experience less food allergies as he develops. This research is controversial, though some studies have shown that infants who were introduced to allergenic foods such as eggs and cow milk products later in their lives have a less likely chance of harboring a food allergy to these substances. Again, other studies indicate conflicting results that show no difference between infants who consume solids at six months and those who begin solids as early as four. Still, the general and possibly safer recommendation is to delay solids until six months of age.
Highly allergenic foods such as eggs, tree nuts, peanut butter, and cow dairy are typically contraindicated until a child is about twelve months of age. This is simply because a child's immunity and body are more developed at one year. Honey is prohibited until a child is past his second birthday due to the risk of infant botulism.
Other Methods of Introduction
Some older European trains of thought delay solids until nine months or even one year. During this time a child is breastfed exclusively. This method can be a bit of a challenge to mothers who feel that their child is exceedingly hungry as it grows, and that liquids alone cannot accommodate this hunger. Also, around the three or four month mark a child will typically experience a growth spurt and hunger will increase. Growth spurts are not an excuse for introducing solids. Early growth spurts may simply require a higher milk intake.
Due to the rise in infant obesity within the modern American society, parents need to exercise keen judgment when it comes to their child's food intake. It is easy to overfeed a child in an effort to pacify his behavior. This is why it is always helpful for parents to work alongside a skilled pediatrician to determine their child's precise dietary needs.